Unexpected paths…

…there are no wrong turns, only unexpected paths.
-Mark Nepo

An unexpected path…you could say that many experiences from my past may have shaped my path, both good experiences and not so good.  I am now more sympathetic to all people, even people in different walks of life, learning from my mistakes.

One mistake was believing I could still get along with the ones that I had known previously, known so well, and the ones who knew me when I was a carefree peppy cheerleader that bounced about the halls so confidently.  There was no way that I could compete with that image of myself, the former image of myself, immediately following the accident I became more quiet, thoughtful and slow to speak. I was taught in my rehab therapy to think before I spoke, and the conversation just rolled on without waiting for me.  I always feel a step behind everyone.

So I started my new life.

Oh well, that part of my life, class of ’99 is finished.  The former style of life had made me feel uncomfortable- the only way I could see myself going forward was to remove myself from the situation, to move forward with my new life.

In order to remedy this, I moved on to be with and socialize with the new class with whom I would be graduating.  The class of 2000, the embracement of my new class was an unexpected path but in a good way; I had so much fun with them!  Even at the reunion, I loved the 2010 reunion (graduating class- 2000), such a different experience than the one of the previous year.  I attended both reunions, the one with the original class that I started out with, 99 and the one I ended up with, 2000.  The ’99 reunion was nice, seeing the people that I really know, the ones with whom I was so close. Some important people who had shaped my childhood.  Yes, my childhood, until I turned 17.

Looking back on the period right before my accident seems almost like another lifetime, it’s as if I’m Icabod Crane on the TV show ‘Sleepy Hollow’, waking after 250 years into a life that’s totally different than the one with which I’m familiar- only not quite as dramatic.

slholpromo

Captain Frank Irving, Katrina, Icabod Crane, Abbie Mills

What could I have done in the situation of feeling uncomfortable around my own classmates?  I was used to being …  I don’t even know what I was used to being.  My friend that I had apparently gotten into a fight with, (though it was never explained to me why after my car accident) [she even visited me in the hospital in Charlottesville, she said that we could try to get our relationship back to the close state that we were previously] didn’t give me another chance to redeem myself, even as I had turned to another way.  Another way of what…?  Another way of life, another state of mind, another realization of what was important.

Everything returns to that state of mind.

Removing myself from the situation.  That is the proactive thing that I could do.  I’m sure it happens to many of us after we have a life-altering experience happen, we change.  It may be difficult for some friends to accept that, especially if the changes are physical.  Physically, I could no longer walk on my own, my balance required the help of two under-arm crutches, just like the crutches one would use for a sports injury.  It wasn’t only the physical change though, it was the mental change in me that accompanied it; yes, I looked different that everyone else, then I felt different.  I became uncomfortable, that feeling of discomfort led me to hanging out downstairs, on the level that all my LD classes were held and the level of the high school that all of the freshman and sophomores spent their break times.

 unexpected

 

Every mistake has a halfway moment, a split second when it can be recalled and perhaps remedied.
Pearl S. Buck
sleepyhollow

 

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People pleaser

Trevor the Otter

Success is not about impressing and pleasing everyone, but setting your own goals, and achieving them in your own time. – Auliq Ice

Peace out
Trevor the Otter

I AM THE ULTIMATE PEOPLE PLEASER.

And always have been.  In high school, on the worst day of my social life, my counselor asked me if I wanted to call my Mom to take me home.  I said no; my reasoning being that then my mom would have to drive back to school 2 hours later to get my brother and my neighbor, even though we lived like 2 minutes by the school.  Even today, laying in bed I would start thinking about it and be unable to get back to sleep.  To read about the hardest day in my social life, Irony.

TO GET BACK TO SLEEP I PRACTICE MINDFULNESS.

Mindfulness means being in the present time, in the present situation, and thinking of all the blessings that I do have now.   My husband would always remind me to think of all the great things that have happened in my life since that time in high school, and look how our lives turned out 20 years later.  When he’s sleeping, I write all of my thoughts in a journal, just to get it down on paper and no longer in my head.  One thing that really helps me through long nights of wondering what could have been is to remember a scripture:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

Mindfulness is concentrating on one thing, like your breathing, slows down your movements and calm your body, let all of your thoughts go. Concentrate on your breathing.  

I feel calmer already!

proverbs3_5-6

TSome softly playing relaxing melodies can also be helpful to get you in the mood to sleep, hor at least preventing anxious thoughts…try a few options and see what you like, and let me know! 

ON THIS THURSDAY, I am very thankful for all the RELAXATION TIPS I have learned to help me with my sleep!

 

otter Thanks little otter, for bestowing these great words of wisdom! 

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Serendipitous

Today I went to go visit a friend that I have not seen in a long time (With another friend I have not seen in a long time!).  A lot has changed with my friend since we’ve last seen each other- all the sudden, she has a little baby daughter! Little Harper is adorable! (and so well behaved! didn’t cry a bit while we were there, Kristin even said it was an easy pregnancy)

peetslogomugI went out to coffee and to crochet with some friends and 1 announced that she’s pregnant again- she already has 2 young children!  She hopes to have a little girl.

 

And there’s been good news!

I met with a lady from the Brain Injury Associationbiaa to evaluate what services I needed [I had a BIAA support counsuler in 2005 when I just graduated from college and was looking for a job- but then I started working at the nursing home and kept forgetting to call her back] This time, I contacted brain injury services to see if I could get on the speakers’ board (TBI survivors on the board create awareness by talking to doctors and nurses at universities or college classes to help them learn more about traumatic brain injuries).  The speakers’ board is filled up for the year, but she saw that I’m a very busy person already, working for LONGWOOD UNIVERSITY, keeping up my personal blog and working on a memoir.  She said that there are other ways that I could get involved, like they have a ‘Lunch Bunch’ that is a few ladies with TBIs who get together once a month and go out for lunch; she also talked to her supervisor about me working as a peer mentor to help others that are having a hard time adjusting with their newly acquired TBIs.  This would probably be a better choice for me since public speaking is not one of my strengths, which was a surprise as well as a blessing. 

 

brain  A new clinical social worker has been hired to start working on the Trauma Survivor’s Network through Fairfax Hospital, the hospital that a TBI support group through which I have made many friends, and suggested that I help volunteer peer visiting with other trauma patients.

At Messiah United Methodist church, 

 

I found out in a meeting that one of the adult supervisors for the youth girls’ small group that meets Wednesday evenings  will be moving at the end of May, so that will leave me as the main adult who plans all of the activities for the meetings for June and the next school year.  This is somewhat good news and also bad news- Donna is a great lady who will be very much missed, but she will move into a happier, more fulfilling work environment.  

Punxsutawney Phil

 

The final object in my backpack of blessings is Punxsutawney Phil!  That famous groundhog saw his shadow yesterday, meaning 6 more weeks of winter!  

skpeng

I would like to see at least 1 good snow this winter! 

A Washington Post article seems to argue with the whimsical little marmot

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Giving up

The otter strikes again…

 

Trevor the Otter

If you feel like giving up, give up on that feeling and give into the realization there are endless possibilities waiting to be discovered before you. – Tom Althouse

Peace out
Trevor the Otter

Give up? Me?-NEVER!  

When the urge to throw in the towel takes hold of you, just punch it back.  Take  a minute or two (OR 10) to mope, then take a deep breath, clear your mind and bring it back to the present; the here and now is all we can effect, not the past, nor the future (as my yoga teacher Amy read to us in class this past week)

It all comes down to mindfulness and being in the present.  We can’t control the movement of time, all it does is stress you out.  Dwelling on the personal catastrophes that already happened and all the anxiety with it is useless because the event has already happened, and no one has created a time machine.  Even if someone had created a time machine, going ‘Back to the Future’ back-to-the-future-delorean-transport is harder than you think to coordinate all that time travel, just ask the charachters on the show Timeless time

Sure in ‘Back to the Future 2″ they did go to the future that is yet to happen, [as I’m trying to rehash this, it’s all getting very confusing- even in my mind] but we all know in real life that does not happen, so it is simply pointless and only gets us whimsical, thinking up different scenarios of what “might have” been.  As my Dad used to say, ‘coulda, woulda, shoulda…shoulda ain’t never done NOTHING.’

Going through both situations, dwelling in the past or on the future take energy, and does not help the PRESENT situation at all!  Life is a gift, that’s why they call it the PRESENT.

The most important thing that anyone can do is just to remember to take a deep breath and realize that it’s all going to be okay.  One of the hardest things I think that a person needs to  realize is that they can’t take on everything in the world and have its weight on their shoulders.

otter

TO READ ANOTHER ARTICLE ON MINDFULNESS, JUST CLICK THE LINK!

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20/20 HINDSIGHT

#MONDAYMOTIVATION

behind

20/20 HINDSIGHT

If we were all aware of that statement, life would be so much easier.  I went through college without appreciating all the fun that can be had in college.  I mean, it was fun, but I did spend a lot of weekends pent up in my single dorm room isolated and depressed. Feeling lonely, though there was absolutely no reason to be.  My friends were right down the hall, and be called on Instant Messaging anytime to go to the dining hall and break up the momotony of schoolwork.   I studied very much, which would make my parents happy and paid attention in all of my classes.  I had friends, very fun friends that I would go to different meetings like InterVarsity (a Christian club at Longwood) and I got really involved in my building’s Hall Council, advocating for Wellness through the Health center and in TRO (Therapeutic Recreation Organization) Fraternity.  Through TRO we helped with Special Olympics held at our school, Longwood University.

But it’s having boyfriends, and other meaningless relationships that are dwelt so much upon at the time that makes it hard to see what is right in front of you.  Good friendships, time better spent doing THE FUN activities that are supposed to be participated in when one is actually in college.  There is no magical time machine that allows to go backwards for a redo

IF I KNEW NOW WHAT I DIDN’T KNOW THEN… 

But that’s kinda sounding like a country song.

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Out in the cold

There is no use in denying that

THIS WEEK HAS NOT BEEN THE GREATEST…

I have slept/ laid around not doing much for the majority of it; missed out on going to one of the age appropriate church meetings, [of course, IT IS called the MOMS group, So I already have THAT strike against me (having and desiring only a dog; my family is COMPLETE )

Today, when I went to take our baby, CHAZZ outside

 and I mistakenly FORGOT MY HOUSEKEYS, so I could not only not get inside our warm house, but I couldn’t even get the mail.  

And I was stuck with the short haired to naked doggie in the cold until my husband got home.  

HOWEVER, I AM THANKFUL that my husband did not have to stay at work late, we were only outside for a little over an hour, time-tower and it was not sub freezing temperatures in the middle of January. [Our poor little 4 legged non hairy doggie was only mildly shaking when I wasn’t petting him]

I AM THANKFUL that our time outside allowed me to catch up on my Google Play reading- esp. since I have made my goal this year to read 18 books!]

goodreads

 

Another super THANKFUL thing that I have experienced today is also is being able to go to my CROCHETING COFFEE  with my girlfriends!  THANK YOU LADIES FOR LISTENING AND GOSSIPING WITH ME! 

img_20170119_232708169.jpg

 

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Renewed

 

I have a renewed spark.
A renewed love for life.
This week signifies a whole fresh start.  

It seems like the clock has magically rewound 2 1/2 weeks to start my resolutions anew (or actually BEGIN my resolutions, since they never actually got started).   My friend doesn’t make resolutions because you don’t really need a new year to start something- you can just resolve to do it whenever.  So, on that note…laptop I had RESOLVED to write everyday, (which happened only twice, and once very late at night only because I read the news of the immanent ending of Days of our Lives) to create a practice of actually getting into a routine.  To write, and to write about what did not necessarily matter, but to start a habit.  The first day, I set up my laptop in the basement and tried to go to town, it didn’t help very much- I ended up searching youtube for an early 90s song that got stuck in my head and I was so close to convincing myself that I could actually write a blog post about it… ALMOST.  I couldn’t really get myself set on creating a work space downstairs.  This past Friday, (almost two full weeks after the new year has begun) I set up camp on the main level- where the real action is happening, the kitchen, and living & dining room, plus a bathroom.  The living room includes two white chairs that my dog Chazz has taken ownership of overlooking the front windows, and claimed as his domain, and his domain only.  I got a lot accomplished and stayed on task.  OK- so I just took a peek as to what I did on friday, and found an incomplete blog post, but it was progress that I actually did write. coffee I made a carafe full of coffee, filled up my water bottle and put on some coffeehouse music, it was almost as if I were sitting away from the distraction of my house.

And we finally got the Christmas tree and most of the inside decorations down so the house looks normal

What I need in my  life is more structure; a reason for waking up and getting started on something.  So, I have enrolled in n online free blogging class that will hopefully do the trick.  Once I get into a routine, everything should come more naturally.  Hopefully, this can help me settle into my daily writing routine.

Today I feel rejuvenated.  Helping to lead Sunday school, Starbucks and grocery shopping were not just mundane tasks, and who knew that while at the library would be a mother and a daughter from my church.  I got even more excited that once I got home, I found one of the cozy mystery books that I had checked out was available in electronic Kindle form, so I can use it on my new Christmas present!

But if I only had the time…

 

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Sigh sigh sigh

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”
-Theodore Roosevelt

 

 

The New Year came.

explosion-firework-new-year-s-eve-december-31

With it, a reevaluation of myself.  My life, what am I meant to be?  A re-evaluation of everything happening around us.  What would we like to be different this year as opposed to last?

By pure coincidence, this email devotion came today straight to my inbox, What were you put here on earth to do?

I would look at others, and see all that is going on with the other ladies in my Bible study, what their thoughts and concerns are… many women have multiple children, part time jobs, here I am, doing a big fat nothing significant.  

 

 

peetslogomug

I go out with my friends crocheting at Peet’s coffee and tea, my friends include mothers, with full time hard jobs, and a 25 year old working full time in the Emergency room of a hospital while taking college courses.

I look at myself- and see all the exciting things I am busy doing; I got a new planner

 

and now one of my highlights is the season premiere of the Bachelor…

I know I shouldn’t compare myself to others, but it’s very difficult not to in my situation.  Good, but never good enough,

Would God say that yes, this is why I put you here on earth, this is why I saved your life.  So you could do NOTHING SIGNIFICANT whenever you wake up from naps.  

 

 Wait… what am I doing?

 

I am put here to provide a positive optimistic example, Tell my story to others, and to create awareness of this invisible illness.  I motivated myself, I submitted my story in a book that was published in November, and am working on my personal memoir.  I have just motivated myself to get involved with Brain Injury services, through the Brain Injury Association of America, and have an appointment to work with a  case manager at the end of the month.  I’m hoping the case manager will help me to get on the Speaker’s Board, which goes to different locations to create awareness.

biaa

It’s not about getting what you want, but WANTING what YOU’VE GOT

My husband has repeatedly told me this.  I should really listen to him more often.

I’ve got a safe, warm place to lay my head at night, the best husband and a Chazz dog,  supportive parents (who enabled me to get a great college education) and extended family.  I now have a recovered (but am always will always recovering and improving; only I choose to look at it as a process of learning- figuring out the ways that I can learn and ways that I can accomplish whatever task) able body, able to take care for my family and able to care for other people [a nursing home setting, and childcare], and to advocate for traumatic brain injuries.  Being able to do something that is really important, something to make a difference in the big scheme of things.  I am able to leave a legacy, just by creating awareness of trials and tribulations of living with a brain injury.  

Yes, I am able bodied, able bodied to do many things.  There are so many people who take advantage of this fact.  So many people who take advantage of the fact that they are able to walk without difficulty, talk without effort, or think of the right things instantaneously.  (problems that I still encounter)

 

Yes, as a traumatic brain injury survivor, I have accomplished a lot and have very much for which to be thankful.  But I still get down in the dumps.  Yes, even 20 years later.  I will always experience severe mood swings, always have difficulty remembering to finish emptying the dishwasher, always get overwhelmed at how much of the house needs to be cleaned.  I put it off as long as possible, puttering around the laptop with a cup of coffee, and then getting wrapped up in the endless TODAY show, news, Access Hollywood then Days of our Lives until I just get sick to my stomach with anxiety thinking of all that I have yet to accomplish; I rush around in a fury of cleaning falling down when my husband gets home at the end of his day in an exhausted lump.  And this is just on a day that I don’t have any Bible study groups to go to, babysitting, working with a friend up at Starbucks, appointments or girls’ youth activities at my church.  There is always my crochet group and other social activities.  

 

So I am thankful for still being here and available to live this fabulous life of mine; thankful for being able and having a busy weekly calendar and allowing me to spend quality time with my  dog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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PREPOSTEROUS!

People.com says it- it must be true

I never thought I’d see Days of our Lives come to an end in my lifetime.

hourglss

One of my favorite childhood memories are that of the summers when good friends from the swim team <Rollling Hills Swim Club Seahawks ROCK!> introduced me to this fabulous dramatic show.  This awesome soap opera  introduced to me in seventh grade, and the show has somewhat molded me into the person that I am today in many aspects.  Other blog posts that I’ve written, like the one about the tragedy of EJ DiMera express my love for the show.  Throughout all stages in my life, the one constant that I could rely on was Days of our Lives.  I would turn to the comforting faces when I was home sick from high school, in between classes at college and on days off of work from the nursing home.  Now that I work from home, I look forward to getting wrapped in their stories each day, (I’ve managed to ‘plan’ my lunch hour to include this program) to get my mind unattached from My reality and focused on the reality of small town Salem, USA.  it’s almost as if I’d be losing a good friend, one who was always available to chat about all the drama happening in Salem, to magically make me forget the stresses of my life- if only for an hour.  I’ll just chalk the demise of the best daytime television programming as another casualty of Trump’s America.  The apocalypse must be near.

<Could Beloved Soap Opera Days of Our Lives Be Canceled> (click for the article)

 

pre·pos·ter·ous

prəˈpäst(ə)rəs/

adjective

  1. contrary to reason or common sense; utterly absurd or ridiculous.

     

    “a preposterous suggestion”

    synonyms: absurdridiculousfoolishstupidludicrousfarcicallaughablecomicalrisiblenonsensicalsenseless,

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Out with the Old

champagne  

 On the eve of the beginning of 2017, I am very excited to change in the next year.  Change moderatly, not all at once and not all or nothing, as this article found in the Huffington Post explains.

I have already set some goals on organization, as outlined in a previous post, writing and time management.

Also, in the future, (like starting tomorrow) I will try to keep myself from dwelling on things that have happened in the past, and things that I cannot control.  These keep me up too late at night, and only increase my feelings of anxiety.  Little things keep me up at night, like worrying about other people’s perceptions of me, or trying to keep everyone happy.  [My husband says that I’m a people pleaser, and I wouldn’t argue with that fact] EXAMPLE: I just mailed a copy of the book that I wrote a chapter in, to my friend living in Massachusetts, and it kept me from a nice nap thinking about the snow conditions up there- like, what if it gets caught in the rain, and Jenny doesn’t get home until late at night from work? <It’s supposed to rain on Tuesday, which is the day Mr. Postman said that it would arrive; only after I got home I thought about asking for a plastic bag to put the book in, or a waterproof envelope…but then when I’m at home- it’s too late>8730739154_7a2706fd27_z

 Another problem that I do have is thinking of something that I should have done earlier (a delay in thought processing)

The excessive worry/anxiety results from the Traumatic Brain Injury that I have, from a car accident back in 1997.  Coming up on 20 years! Although it has been a long time since my injury, one among many long lasting problems effects my moods.  I have not had a panic attack since October [only due to a MetroAccess mishap], and have learned to control my seizure episodes through conscious breathing and meditation.

corpse-pose-savasana

A woman in corpse pose or ‘savasana’

Let’s hope that I can better control the worries in 2017! 

 

cheers

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